By Andrew Gribble, al.com:
Alabama’s matchup with Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl will be the last time McCarron throws a pass for the Crimson Tide. “Everybody was worried when Greg (McElroy) was leaving,” McCarron said. “I heard people say Alabama was going to fall off. I’m sure one of these guys will step up and do an unbelievable job and make a lot of Alabama fans proud and the rest of our coaching staff proud.” There’s no shortage of options, but the only returning quarterback with much of any experience is Blake Sims, who will be a senior in 2014.
By MARQ BURNETT, ledger-enquirer.com:
Over the summer, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had some interesting comments about the strength of the Southeastern Conference. Stoops questioned the overall dominance of the SEC during a booster club event. Stoops brought up the “bottom six” of the league and how much they have added to the conference’s overall success and reputation. Stoops’ Sooners (10-2) earned a date with Alabama (11-1) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 in New Orleans.
By Brianne Britzius, wsfa.com:
Bill Battle, the University of Alabama Athletics Director, is keeping mum on Nick Saban’s contract extension. Several sports writers have tweeted about the AD’s response to what is likely a constant question: what’s going on with Saban? Ralph D. Russo, an Associated Press sports reporter, tweeted this: “Alabama AD when asked about Saban contract extension: “we’re focused on recruiting and playing Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.” No follow-ups.”
By John Taylor, NBC News:
A health issue shouldn’t keep Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from ending his turbulent 2013 season on a high note, Nick Saban said Sunday. Shortly after the loss to Auburn in the regular-season finale, the Alabama defensive back underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair an injured meniscus in his knee. The surgery and subsequent rehab could keep the junior off the practice field initially, but should have no impact on his availability for the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma Jan. 2.
The BCS Bowl games were announced Sunday night, which included the Sugar Bowl inviting the Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) to face back-to-back defending national champions Alabama next month. The Sugar Bowl opted to pick the Sooners over the higher ranked Oregon (10-2) squad, who was a favorite to play in the national title game just a month ago. After a record-low attendance in last year’s Sugar Bowl between Florida and Louisville, bowl reps wanted a game between traditional powers that will travel well, all due to greed. The quality of the game is of no importance to them. Football purists might love the match-up but these are not your daddy’s Oklahoma teams of the past.
By Kevin Scarbinsky, al.com:
Nick Saban makes about the same amount of money to coach college football at Alabama as Mack Brown does at Texas. There was a time when Brown might’ve been considered one of the better coaches in the business, but that time has passed. Saban is still the standard, even after his anticipated trip to Pasadena got re-routed to New Orleans because of one wrong turn in Auburn. Brown appeared during the day Tuesday to be fighting to extend his tenure at Texas, even though the smart money says it’s a losing fight.
By Hannah Stephens, isportsweb.com:
After the game last Saturday, death threats began filling several of the players’ twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds, as well as their family members’ as well. Most of the fans supported Cade Foster and Adam Griffith, 2 of the field goal kickers that many say are to blame for the loss. While some “fans” sent death threats, the rest sent encouragement. When you think about it, does any of this really surprise you? Can you really be shocked that fans would react in this way after winning back to back national championships?
By Tom Ensey, ktre.com:
Gil Brandt of NFL.com and ESPN radio host Paul Finebaum reported Tuesday afternoon that Alabama football coach Nick Saban has a contract extension on his desk that would increase his salary to $7 million a year. The news coincided with conflicting reports about the future of Texas coach Mack Brown, whose team finished below expectations with an 8-4 record this year. Rumors have persisted for months that Texas wanted Saban to replace Brown. Brown and his attorney denied the coach has decided to step down, responding to a report on the website orangebloods.com that said Brown is expected to resign later this week. Tuesday afternoon, Brown texted the website Horns247.com that he is in Florida recruiting and has not decided to step down.
Alabama’s senior quarterback AJ McCarron was named the winner of the 2013 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award on Monday morning. McCarron, from Mobile, Ala., learned of his selection by phone from John Unitas Jr. and Raymond Berry in head coach Nick Saban’s office. McCarron joins Jay Barker as the only Alabama players to capture the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (1994). “It is an unbelievable honor to win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.” McCarron said. “I can’t thank the Unitas family enough for selecting me as the 2013 winner. To have my name next to all of the great quarterbacks who have won this award in the past is truly an honor. I want to thank my teammates, Coach Saban and all of our assistant coaches for making this possible.”